DOCUMENT RESUME ED 301 755 CE 051 551 AUTHOR TITLE INSTITUTION SPONS AGENCY PUB DATE NOTE PUB TYPE EDRS PRICE DESCRIPTORS IDENTIFIERS Withers, Nancy A. Sexual Harassment: An Overview. Monograph. Volume 2, Number 1. Ohio State Univ., Columbus.. Instructional Materials Lab. Ohio State Dept. of Education, Columbus. Div. of Vocational and Career Education. Feb 87 8p.; Document contains colored ink and paper. Guides - Classroom Use - Guides (For Teachers) (052) MFOl/PCOl Plus Postage. *Civil Rights; Compliance (Legal); ^Federal Legislation; Females; Males; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; *Sex Discrimination; *Sex Fairness; *Sexual Harassment; Work Environment Civil Rights Act 1964 Title VII ABSTRACT Sexual harassment is a problem in high schools, on college campuses, and in the workplace, although unclear definitions and misinterpretations of sexual harassment have led many to believe that the amount of sexual harassment that occurs is minimal. Sexual harassment has been defined as a continuum of be^aviorSr with physical sexual assault at one extreme and nonverbal, sexually suggestive behavior at the other extreme. Studies suggest that more females than males are victims of sexual harassment. Sexual harassers are usually males in a position of authority who can force the cooperation of the victim by coercion. Sexual liarassment leads to fear, anxiety, guilt, and anger for the victims; many victims feel they should have done something to prevent the harassment. Persons who feel they are being harassed should take immediate, firm steps to stop the behavior. They should document the incidents in case a suit is filed. They can complain to the appropriate officers in their organization or to the state or federal agency that has jurisdiction in the matter. Some organizations have published written guidelines forbidding harassment and specifying the actions that should be taken by persons who feel they have been harassed. (KC) ********************** **^^^***jt* **************** * Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * from the original document. MONOGRAPH SEXUAL HARASSMENT: AN OVERVIEW Nancy A. Withers Center for Sex Equity The Ohio State University College of Education Instructional Materials Laboratory Volume 2, Number 1, February 1987 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Offtce 0' EducattOPdl Research and Improvement "PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN GRANTED BY r MmOr CharvQei have been made to improve • Pomisotvieworopin or^'staledimthisdocu- menX do not necessanty represent o fiCral TO THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC)." MONOGRAPH mmmwmr- Published by the Center for Sex Equity, The Ohio State University, College of Education, Instructional Materials Laboratory, 154 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210-1302, Marcia Fear-Fenn, Director, through a grant from the Sex Equity Section, Division of Vocational and Career Education, Ohio Department of Education. Volume 2, Number 1, February 1987 Many people involved in high schools, college cam puses, and employment situations talk about sexual harassment as a passing agenda. Research in this area suggests that men and women do not have a clear understanding about what constitutes a sexual harassment situation or problem. This is due pri- marily to the historical acceptance of sexual ha- rassment as a private rather than a public issue. Also, the traditional socialization of men (to accept aggressive behavior) and women (to reject aggressive behavior) interferes with the interpretation of what is considered courting, flirting, or sexually harassing behaviors. The following statements help identify and clarify sexual harassment issues. — Sexual harassment is a problem in high schools, on college campuses, and in the workplace. — Women are sexually harassed more frequently than men. — Sexual harassment not only affects the person being harassed but also affects others around that person. — People who are in roles of authority, like teach- ers or supervisors, may he ir a position to sexually harass others but are not the only persons who sexually harass others. — The way women dress and act is not neces sarily an invitation to sexual harassment. — Saying no to sexual harassment does not nec essarily cause it to stop. — Sexual harassment will not go away by denyinp its existence. — Most schools, colleges, and other organizations do not have adequate policies for handling sexual harassment issues. Er|c 5 People formulate opinions about sexual harassment based on their own axperiences. Because our society is uncomfortable discussing sexual feelings and sex- ual issues, many observers and involuntary partic- ipants in sexual harassment situations are unwilling to discuss the existence of the problem. To avoid the unpleasantness of such an encounter, many of those involved choose to ignore the entire issue. Some even attempt to substitute a positive feeling toward the problem — interpreting sexual harass- ment as flattery, for instance — rather than admit to themselves and others their true feelings of help- lessness or fear. The unclear definitions and misinterpretations of sexual harassment have led many to believe that the amount of sexual harassment that occurs is minimal in schools, colleges, and the workplace. Once the problem of sexual harassment has been exposed and is understood, it is likely that individual harassers will be held more accountable for iheir behavior by both men and women. This monograph is a collection of researcn on sexual harassment which defines the issue, describes how people are affected, suggests options for people who are sexually harassed, and offers preventative alternatives to promote at schools and other organizations. LEGISLATION AND DEFINITIOI^S ' Federal legislation, specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employment discrim- ination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. The importance of this legislation is that it prohibits sex discrimination in employment. Subsequent federal legislation. Title IX of the Ed- ucation Amendments of 1972, established the un- lawfulness of sex discrimination against students and employees in all educational institutions receiving federal assistance. In addition, Title IX lequires all educational institutions to establish grievance pro- cedures for alleged discrimination on the basis of sex. In 1978, Farley coined the term sexual harassment and identified this activity as a form of sex discrim- ination. She described sexual harassment as an act that involves unsolicited, nonreciprocal, aggressive male behavior directed toward a female. Prior to this date, no name existed for this type of behavior. In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunity Com- mission developed Guidelines on Discrimination Be- cause of Sex, which offered a more complete definition of sexual harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employmen decisions af- fecting such individual; 3) such con Jt has the purpose or effect of substantially inteuering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating or offensive working environment. (Congressional Federal Register, 1980, p. 74676) Under these guidelines, an employer is responsible for the acts of his or her employees, regardless of whether the employer knew about the sexual ha- rassment or not. By 1981, the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education developed a work ing definition of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of sex, by an employee or agent of a recipient that denies, limits, provides different or condi- tions the provision of aid, benefits, services or treatment protected under Title IX. (Office for Civil Rights, 1981) Few laws specifically prohibit sexual harassment, however, with the passage of those previously men tioned laws, it Is clear that the issue of sexual harassment is gaining more attention. Previous un clear definitions of sexual harassment had created anxiety about human interactions. Today, this anx iety exists as some people struggle to determine the difference between sexual harassment and court ing behavior. The clear difference between those two behaviors is that one is unwelcome behavior and the other is welcome. Sexual harassment has been defined as a continuum of behaviors, with physical sexual assault at one extreme and nonverbal, sexually suggestive behavior at the other extreme. Specific types of physical harassment include unwanted touching, patting, ERIC grabbing, or pinching, extending an (Sveity friendly arm around the shoulder, brushing up against a person's body, kissing or attempting to kiss, coercing sexual intercourse; and committing physical assault or rape. Specific verbal and/or nonverbal behavior that is sexually harassing can be identified as follows: insulting sounds oi whistles, conversations that are too personal, offensive verbalizations, sexually suggestive remarks, humor and jokes about sex, derogatory comments about the opposite sex, inap- propriate comments about the body, offers of money for sex, constant embarrassing comments, obscene gestures, or staring in a way too personal. Sexual harassment occurs when sexual language or behavior is unwanted, unwarranted, and threatens the ability of individuals to participate and benefit freely from that environment. Some examples of sexual harassment within the educational setting follow. —Bob was the only boy in the cosmetology class. All the girls in the class teased him and made fun of him. One girl really gave him a hard time, making sexual remarks and suggestions. When he told the teacher, she replied that he had better get used to the harassment if he wanted to be a cosmetologist. — Christine was one of the few girls in her welding rlass. She wanted to take more welding classes, but the teacher frequently belittled the girls and had them sweepinc the floor and taking attendance. She knew she was not getting the experience she needed, but the teacher told her not to worry and winked at her. — A teacher frequently asked students to stay after school just to talk. This teacher was known to hug and touch students, and gave better grades to those who would stay late and comply. — A male student and some of his friends kept making sexual remarks to one particular girl. They pressed her against a class oom door and kept her from leaving. She often was embarrassed by the rude comments they made about her body. Sexual harassment is an invasion of privacy and a violation of a person's rights. Harassing activity implies an imbalance in power whereby one person dominates the other or intimidates the person to force consent. There is a certain power that is derived from either the educational or occupational setting that gives the harasscr a certain claim to control. Sexual harassment ic i way a person forces sexual attention on someo^.e r.iy <Joes not want it. Studies suggest that more females than males are victims of sexual harassment. Surveys have typically found that females are two to three times more 4 * likely than males to report having been the target of sexual harassment. If the occurrence of sexual harassment, as suggested in research, reflects real- ity, then it appears that about half of all women will face sexual harassment on the job or during their education. One of the problems in collecting information about sexual harassment is that the subject is sensitive. Therefore, many respondents are unwilling to dis- cuss harassing experiences with anyone. This sug- gests that the actual occurrence of sexual harassment may be much higher than what has been reported. In 1981, the United States Merit System Protection Board (USMSPB) sampled 23,000 federally em- ployed men and women over a two-year period. Forty-two percent of the women and 15% of the men reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Somers' (1983) research cited studies that reported the incidence of sexual harassment among female employees to be as high as 92%, One half reported they had been fired or knew someone who had been fired because of sexual harassment. Research conducted by Benson and Thomson (1982) found that 30% of the under- graduate women at the University of California, Berkeley, had been sexually harassed at some time during their four years of study. In another college study involving 1,178 students, Schneider (1982) found that 17% of the women and 2% of the men reported being sexually harassed by their teachers. This author could find no research conducted with students below the college level. This is not to <^ "^gest that sexual harassment does not exist be- tween teachers and studeiits at lower levels. In addition, no research was found that discusses the existence of sexual harassment between teachers and administrators below the college level. The concern here is that if the issue is not being discussed and revealed, then students may be learning at a young age that sexual harassment is appropriate behavior; therefore, in future interactions in the workplace, they may accept the behavior rather than confront it. Sexual harassment occurs when a person who is in a position to control, influence, grade, or pay an- other person use^ 'lis position of authority to coerce the other person into unwanted, sexually suggestive situations and to threaten punishment if she or he refuses to comply. The act of sexual harassment is one way a harasser can control his or her environ- ment by utilizing intimidating behaviors to force the cooperation of the victim (Hemming, 1985). In one study it was determined that 75% of the male harassers were in a position to hire or fire female employees (Sechler, 1981). Sexual harassers almost Q ys act alone, and frequently harass other tar- gets. In addition, the harassing behavior often is directed toward the victim consistently over a long period of time (USMSPB, 1981). Research conducted by Tangri and Johnson (1982) and Farley (1978) indicates that sexually harassing behaviors are most often conducted by men who are older, in positions of high status, married, and somewhat unattractive. On the other hand, men who report beiag sexually harassed by women iden- tify the women as being younger, single, and at- tractive. More women than men have been harassed by their superiors (Hemming, 1985). RIC Research conducted in the area of sexual harass- ment has identified women as being the most likely to be harassed. The following list describes women who are commonly harassed: -single and divorced women -women trainees -younger and older women -women pioneers in nontraditional careers -lower-salaried women -women with high dependence on their job -women in graduate school near the age of the instructor -minority women -unassertive or passive women -women who appear to be confident In a 1981 USMSPB survey of federal workers, it was found that males who reported being the target of sexual harassment were most likely to report that rhe incident involved homosexual harassment. While this research concluded that few men are being sexually harassed by women, Pryor's (1985) research recognizes the existence of this behavior by women. Because women tend to consider sexual advances as more threatening than men (Gutek, Morasch, & Cohen, 1983), perhaps this accounts for the low reporting and labeling of sexual ha- rassment of men by women. Morris, Terpstra, Croninger, and Linn (1985) have identified the following warning signals of sexual harassment. If an individual has any of these thoughts, it is likely that he or she is being harassed. -I can't believe this is happening to me. -I hate you for doing this to me. -If I say anything, everyone will think I'm crazy. -Just leave me alone. -What is going to happen next? -I wish I could get away from all this. -Why doesn't anyone help me? Many of those who are sexually harassed are un- willing to discuss the experience until years later, and often hesitate to call it sexual harassment (Somers, 1982). They often blame themselves and believe that others, upon learning about the incident, would blame them too. Because of this, those ha- rassed often feel isolated from the very people who could support them. Sexual harassment can provoke many emotional responses. Some of the more com mon emotional responses include the following. -anxiety -fear -guilt -frustration -loneliness -hatred -jealousy -confusion -anger -defeat -self-consciousness -pov^erlessness Many of those who have been sexually harassed feel they should have done something to prevent it. They appear to be somewhat apologetic. Some fear the expression of the anger they feel because they want to guard against being seen as a trou- blemaker. This masked anger eventually explodes into defensiveness. Often people fear the sexual harassment will be repeated. Sexually harassed per- sons may lose their self-confidence and may feel th?ir self-image is damaged. Hemming (1985) identifies some possible physical consequences of sexual harassment. Sleeplessness and tiredness, migraine headaches, coronary heart disease, problems with weight and diet, and other physical illnesses can occur as a result of being sexually harassed. Some sexually harassed persons abuse drugs and alcohol to escape the pressure and anguish caused by the harassment. Other consequences of sexual harassment can in- clude a decrease in job satisfaction and a barrier to long-term career prospects. For example, a ha- rasser could encourage lack of cooperation from coworkers; offer negative job evaluations or poor personal recommendations; deny overtime; demote the victim; provide injurious transfer and reassign- ments of shifts, hours, or locations of work; set impossible performance standards; and/or demand the termination of the employee (Farley, 1978). Even though sexual harassment affects people in different ways, no research has identified any pos- itive consequences derived from it. Before sexual harassment can be dealt with, it is necessary to understand the nature of this particular ER?C 6 behavior and the prevalence of the problem. In addition, people need to understand their rights as students and/or employees and the appropriate ways of confronting sexual harassment. As a social problem, this type of behavior can be difficult to identify and prove. Cultural and individual differ- ences exist in communication patterns, thus, what one considers sexual harassment, another may not. It is possible that some harassers actually may not know tnat others find their behavior unc^cceptable. If you or someone you know is being harassed, it is best to take some action to discontinue or prevent this type of behavior. The situation is likely to worsen if the harassed person remains silent. Over- looking obvious sexually harassing behaviors may indicate the acceptance of this behavior. Suggestions on how to deal with sexual harassment include the following: — Do not laugh at the harassing behavior. — Share your problem with an adult friend, family member, or colleague. — Review your organization's policies and pro- cedures on sexual harassment. — Discuss the issue with a knowledgeable person in the organization; for example, a supervisor, director of personnel, equal employment op- portunity officer, or affiimative action officer. (It is important to go to the appropriate official before complaints of incompetence filter down.) — Avoid being alone with the harasser. -Talk with other students or coworkers to see if they have been harassed. Complaints, from a group carry more weight than those from an individual. — Keep a written record documenting as precisely as possible what happened, when it took place, and any witnesses. This will be important if charges are filed. — Ask witnesses to verify your experience. — Make it known in front of other people that this type of behavior is offensive and unacceptable. — Give the harasser a firm no at the first sign of sexual harassment. Tell the harasser, in per- son or by le.ter, that this behavior is unacceptable. Employees and students have the legal right to work and learn in an environment free from discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult. Although only a few cases on sexual harassment have ever been won legally, recent court rulings have made organ- izations more responsible for this behavior. Federal action can be taken by contacting the Equal Em- ployment Opportunity Commission, Women's Bu- reau, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20506. A complaint to this organization should be filed within 180 days of the last alleged harassment. State action can be taken by contacting the State Equal Opportunity Division (EEO), 30 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43266-0408. A complaint to this organization should be filed within 30 days after the last alleged harassment. A sexually ha- rassed person is not required to initially file a grievance with his or her institution, however, some institutions will not handle grievances after they have been filed with state or federal EEO offices. Further information about sexual harassment can be obtained through the Office for Civil Rights, Region V, 300 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606, and the Committee Against Sexual Harass- ment, 65 South Fourth Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. There are many ways that schools and other or- ganizations can identify, confront, and prevent sex- ual harassment. For example, a survey among students and employees could determine the extent of the problem. Organizations could develop pre- sentations and other programs to educate students, faculty, employees, and supervisors of the sensitive issues surrounding sexual harassment. Title VII and Title IX are important pieces of legislation that indicate sexual harassment in the workplace or academic environment is illegal. Each organization should develop a specific policy state- ment regarding sexual harassment and identify what constitutes sexual harassment. A sample of the actual guidelines posted by Akron Public Schools follows. AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS HOW TO REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT T.ie Akron Public Schools prohibits any form of sexual harassment. Equal Employment Oppor- tunity Commission Guidelines— Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964— specify that all Akron Public Schools' employees are entitled to a work environment free from sexual harassment and intimidation. Sexual harassment is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the employment re- lationship. It is an attempt to control, influence, or affect the career, salary, or job of an individual. Sexual harassnr.ent may include, but is not limited to -Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; -Repeated offensive sexual flirtations; -Advances or propositions; -Continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature; -Graphic or degrading verbal comments about an individual or his or her appearance; -The display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; and -Any offensive or abusive physical contact. If you have questions or concerns regarding sexual harassment, contact your immediate superior or William W. Spratt, Title IX Coordinator for the Akron Public Schools, or any other representative of the Personnel Office. Division of Personnel and Administration Conrad C. Ott November 1984 Superintendent of Schools ERIC Policy statements should be distributed to employees and students. In addition, people should be en- couraged to file a complaint or discuss a potential violation. A complaint officer should be identified and should be familiar ^ith the process of filing a grievance. The method of discipline for such be- haviors should be known, and action should be taken immediately with regard to the victim's privacy. It appears that one of the best ways to handle the sexual harassment problem is to offer as many awareness opportunities as possible and to imple- ment an ongoing preventative program. REFERENCES Benson, D. J., & Thompson, G. (1982). Sexual harassment on a university campus: The conflu- ence of authority relations, sexual interest, and gender stratification. Social Problems, 27(3), 236- 251. Congressional Federal Register. (1980, November 10). Chapter XIV, Section 1604.11, 45(219), pp. 74676-74677. Farley, L. (1978). Sexual shakedown. New York; McGraw-Hill. Gutek, B., Morasch, B., & Cohen, A. G. (1983). Interpreting social-sexual behavior in a work set- ting. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 22, 3048. Hemming, H. (1985). Women in a man's world. Sexual harassment. Human Relations, 38(1), 67- 79. Morris, J., Croninger, B., & Linn, E. (1985). Tune in to \;our rights, A guide for teenagers about turning off sexual harassment. Ann Arbor, MI. Center for Sex Equity in Schools, The University of Michigan. Office for Civil Rights Policy Memorandum (1981, August 31). From Antonio J. Califa, Director for Litigation, Enforcement and Policy Service, OCR to Regional Civil Rights Directors. Pryor, J. B. (1985). The lay person's understanding of sexual harassment. Sex Roles, 13, 273-286. Sechler, J. A. (1981). Communication skills sex equity training. Columbus, OH. The National Center for Research in Vocational Education. Somers, A. (1982). Sexual harassment in academe: Legal issues and definitions. Journal of Social Is sues, 35(4), 23-32. Somers, P. (1983, Winter). Sexual harassment and employment. Why college counselors should be concerned. I^ational Association of Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors Journal, 46, 43-46. Tangri, M. R., & Johnson, L. B. (1982). Sexual harassment at work: Three explanatory models. Journal of Social Issues, 35(4), 33-54. U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. (1981). Sexual Harassment in the Federal Workplace. Is it a Prob- lem? Washington, DC. U.S. Government Printing Office. TTifs sex equity logo for Ohio can be reproduced and used on your own publications.